Union County faced off with the Red Devils of Clinton on Friday night and suffered losses in both girls and boys contests.
The Yellow Jackets showed heart and persistence in the match up with the Red Devils but fell short in a 71-55 contest.
Clinton led by as many as 20 points in the first half, but Union County would not quit. The Jackets ended the half trailing the Red Devils by just 11 points at 35-24.
Union County began to chip away at the Clinton lead in the third quarter. Midway through the frame, Devonte Glenn hit a lay-up to cut the lead to seven and a steal put the ball back in the Jackets’ hands. Brett Smith knocked down a baseline jumper to further slice into the Red Devils’ lead. After a Clinton turnover, Union County closed the gap to a mere two points. However, fouls began to stack up for post player Keiston Smith and also for Glenn.
With two of Union County’s starters on the bench, the Red Devils began to once again break away from the Yellow Jackets.
Union County rallied in the fourth but came up short, falling to Clinton and slipping to 3-2 in region play.
“We can’t afford to give teams a 20-point lead,” said coach Will Hickson. “The kids did continue to battle and I’m proud of them for that but we’ve got to come out from the gate ready to go. I told the guys it should hurt to lose like this and it does. But we could still get a home game in the playoffs. We won’t quit. We’ll look ahead to the next game and finish out the season on a positive note.”
Glenn led the Jackets’ scoring with 13 points. TJ Jeter and Brett Smith each put up 12 points. Recus Hughes tallied eight. TJ Foster and Keiston Smith each contributed three points and Quabel Henderson added two.
Turnovers was the word of the day for the Lady Jackets as the girls were handed a 66-41 loss by Clinton.
Dana Brannon hit a three pointer to open the game. The Red Devils answered with a jumper and followed up with a steal converted for two points, taking a lead that they kept for the remainder of the game.
Clinton made a 14-1 run in the first quarter and Union County trailed 16-6 at the end of the period.
The second quarter was much improved for the Jackets, with McHale Hardy hitting the glass and Kristen Giles going 4-4 from the free throw line. Just before intermission Hardy knocked down a jumper from inside the paint to cut the Clinton lead to five points at 25-20.
Clinton began to pull away again in the second half with a 10-point lead after three quarters and finally put it away at 66-41.
“Clinton plays hard and has a ‘no quit’ attitude,” said coach Yoneko Washington. “We’ll try and fix some things before Blue Ridge. The girls have to get comfortable and play hard as a team. We have to look forward to the playoffs and take care of business against Blue Ridge next week.”
With the loss, the Lady Jackets fall to 2-3 in Region AAA-III.
Hardy led the scoring with 13 points. Andrea Eison followed with eight and Giles netted five. Dana Brannon and Mari Eison each contributed four points.